Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Forums banner
21 - 31 of 31 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Update:

This antenna is a total failure. Since this involved DRILLING A FREAKING HOLE IN THE ROOF (!), what else could be done? I know, lets give a more current iteration of the Fuba a go. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Ordered one up from Antennax.com. $29.99/free shipping. The order was shipped quickly and arrived on time, as promised in follow up email. So far, so good. Anxious to open the package and access the mods needed to replace the Fubar Fuba, this happened:

Wire Cable Coaxial cable Technology Electronic device


My first thought was... "Hey! That's just cold solder, I can fix that!" So lets take the gasket off the base, pull the screws out and check it out. This will only take a few minutes. Uhhhh...

Technology Electronic device Finger Gadget


Not only that, but the base of this thing now has a "key" making it anything but universal.

To Antennax.com credit, they fully refunded the purchase and allowed me to recycle this crap ASAP. They get a 5* in my book for that.

Still, I went ahead and looked inside. Obviously, Fuba (or brands masquerading as Fuba) are NOT ISO 9000 certified organizations! Absolute, 100% TOTAL GARBAGE.

Product Auto part Rim Wheel


In the late 70's/early 80's I worked for a Robert Bosch distributor out of Costa Mesa. They were wholesale/retail distributors for Bosch, Hischmann, Blaupunkt, Becker and a bunch of other automotive brands. When it comes to antennas, German products were always pricey but always worth it. So, as much as I hate to pay retail, I started looking around. Turns out, Bosch and Hirschmann no longer have a presence in the U.S. market. Most likely because U.S. consumers are price conscience (or price sensitive) and unwilling to pay for quality. Ended up finding a Bosch GTI "Universal" antenna. It was a bit of an ordeal getting the order placed and fulfilled but "morganshop" over on ebay made everything right. I'll spare you the details but I was starting to think the patron saint of radiated signally did NOT want me to be listening to radio.

In a world of ho-hum low priced everyday junk, German quality literally screams at the junk it "competes" with.

Technology Electronic device Wire

Cable Wire Electronics accessory Technology Electronic device

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Is there any question who copied who's designs?

Any how... Had to enlarge the previous hole in the roof for the Bosch. UniBit to the rescue! Check it out, a silly-cone gasket. Impressive.

Finial Tool accessory Metal


What's a tweeter doing in the overhead? Seems like a funny place for it.

Technology Wire Electronic device Cable Electronics


It's a cheapy, bought from Parts Express during a buy out. Makes for a good metal shaving catcher in this exact situation. Think they were about $1/each. Worked perfectly. Nary a stray piece of metal to be found.

The gasket fits perfectly.



The mounting nut was not easy to get to, but it bit into the underside of the roof well enough to measure 0 ohm between ground and cable shield at the radio.

Auto part Vehicle Trunk Car Automotive exterior

Land vehicle Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Windshield


And, as the sunset, the Bosch was snatching here-to-for unheard radio stations out of the air. Like light being suck into a black hole. Like a giant cosmic gnat catcher, nothing escapes the signal capturing majesty of this awesome antenna system.

Automotive exterior Sky Vehicle Mode of transport Car


Seriously, after one morning of drive time to work, I'm totally wowed. Open road traveling has very stable signal capture. When terrestrial digital is available, fade to analog is rare and smooth. Long distance and uncomplicated geographic conditions are easy for sophisticated amplified antennas. The real challenge is how the antenna and receiver operate as a system in the presence of multipath where image rejection, IM and tuner attributes will tell the real story. I'm tempted to drive to down town just to get into the worst possible RF conditions but for now, I'm very happy. $130 well spent. Well, actually $135 cuz the DIN antenna termination standard left Motorola sometime ago, so an adaptor was needed. I used the "db Link VW12 1988-Up VW/Audi/European Vehicle Specific OEM Antenna Adaptor" from Amazon.
 

·
Premium Member
2104 Honda Ridgeline SE
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Nice Job. Thanks for the update. Its true what you say about the cheap China crap. Wish I had known about that antenna from the get go. Keep us updated if you go further afield or venture downtown.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Its true what you say about the cheap China crap.
Oh man, truer words were never spoken/written. When a Chinese OEM is left on their own, the first thing to go is expensive engineering efforts like DVT (design verification testing), production sampling and QA audits that routinely reject shipments when human process goes awry. In the image of the inside of the Fuba antenna base, you can see that not only was the soldered connection on the blue wire STONE COLD, even the heat shrink was untouched. That is a total failure of a human process on a production line. And zero QA inspection. Not to mention the injection mold process for the base itself was defective causing the outer edge to crumble like 10 year old environmentally exposed ABS plastic. Junk thru and thru.

Having said that, there are contract manufacturers in China who are taught quality assurance procedures developed in Europe and the U.S.. Some of them are ISO certified to 9000 & 9001 levels - which are very, very tight standards indeed. Companies like Emotiva and Outlaw Audio are net based retailers who engineer state-of-the-art home electronics here and have staff who regularly visit/audit/improve production line policies/procedures in China factories. Same goes for Apple, Samsung, LG, GE, Maytag, ETC. The prospect of "slave labor" aside, the end result is finished goods indistinguishable from products made elsewhere. Not to get political, but.... it's a crying shame this country has exported high level engineering and design principles to communist controlled China. In the long run, consumerism may come back to harm us regular citizens in unforeseen ways.

It's getting more difficult to find quality products worthy of purchase. From kitchen utensils to tennis shoes, the throw away junk just keeps coming. It's one of the reasons I never, ever shop at Harbor Freight (AKA: Everything made in China).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Nice Job. Thanks for the update. Its true what you say about the cheap China crap. Wish I had known about that antenna from the get go. Keep us updated if you go further afield or venture downtown.
Although the Pioneer tuner is excellent, the way it behaved in both AM & FM bands with the factory horizontally polarized antenna was barely acceptable.

San Diego county isn't exactly a radio friendly topographic region. By now, I've spent quite a bit of time on the road with the Bosch, navigating hills, mountains, open roads, the concrete jungle and almost everywhere else reflected signals tend to overload the front end of a receiver. The results far exceed anything expected. On the AM side, there is hardly an area where digital fades to analog - even in those conditions, noise radiated from nearby overhead power cables, fading signal strength, ETC is soooo much better, it rarely enters the realm of unlistenable.

On the FM side, the primary station I listen to - for comedy relief during morning drive - transmits in analog only from the center of the county, well south of home. The work commute takes me from north facing mountains, where this particular station is weak, down to the 78 - which is essentially in a east/west valley, to the 15 south. Once on 15, the transmitter is still 35 or so miles south with lots of varying terrain - even as the crow flies. The station is solid and 95% free of fade and multipath that kills the listing experience.

And now, I've added a new variable. The 16.5" standard Bosch mast is simply too tall to navigate standard underground parking structures. I needed something shorter to resolve that issue, but after such an improved radio signal capture experience, I wasn't willing to eff around with the plethora of FUBA style masts flooded by aftermarket wannabe's. Clearly, the engineering and design efforts employed by Bosch go well beyond copying or reverse engineering what others have done. Mast construction, phasing coil wraps, frequency dependent gain, reflected image rejection - are the result of DVT on an antenna range time spent learning what does and does not work in lab simulations - none of which are done by the knock offs and pretenders. Even the materials used to construct their products are the result of accelerated life testing, heat soak, UV exposure, salt dense humidity chambers, ETC. Those things cost $ and are reflected in the cost of finished goods sold at retail.

But I blather... After looking around for a shorter Bosch mast, and not finding one, I looked to another trusted OEM, Hirschmann. They make a 6 3/4" mast with the appropriate threads to tap into the Bosch base. I'm fully aware there may be degraded signal capture characteristics simply due to physical length of the mast, not to mention potential weirdness from phase differentials introduced by the mast to the antenna amp, but thinking of this as a $26 experiment. If it works, great! If not, there are options to deploy the Bosch mast when needed or keep the Hirschmann shorty in place. The mast arrived Friday, so have only a little time on the road and one commute to work on which to judge this change. So far so good.

Tree Property Palm tree Arecales Botany


Vehicle Windshield Car Automotive exterior Glass
 

·
Premium Member
2104 Honda Ridgeline SE
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
Thanks for the update. I almost purchased the Bosch Antenna yesterday but got sidetracked. My purchase is on hold till you again update the difference the shorty makes.
How many inches did the Bosch extend above the roof vertically?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Thanks for the update. I almost purchased the Bosch Antenna yesterday but got sidetracked. My purchase is on hold till you again update the difference the shorty makes.
How many inches did the Bosch extend above the roof vertically?
This is the underground parking structure where the RL lives each weekday. When the FUBAR was installed, it would bonk into the height restriction warning sign, but not the concrete support trusses traversing the parking surface above.
Vehicle Architecture Building Car


Parking Parking lot Public space Road City

After the Bosch was installed, it not only bonked into the warning sign with more vigor than the FUBAR, but it also hit several of the overhead trusses. When I was forced to put the RL into reverse under one of the trusses, it became clear I had to do something before the antenna mast broke - or worse - the roof skin got bent. The FUBAR and Bosch are both described as having 16.5" masts, and the bases appeared to be the same height, so the (unconfirmed) conclusion was, the Bosch is more "upright" than the FUBAR.

At any rate, here's the Bosch standard mast. Adding 2" for the tape measure body, it looks like 15.5" vertical (roof to tip):
Musical instrument Reed instrument


The Bosch base w/Hirschmann mast looks to be about 7" roof to tip:
Musical instrument Reed instrument


BTW: at this point, observing radio behavior in both AM and FM bands before/after and switching between Bosch & Hirschmann masts seems to yield no appreciable performance delta. The Bosch amp and Pioneer receiver don't seem to like one mast over the other. I'm gonna stick with the Hirschmann while driving through various environments to see if anything goes wonky, but for now I don't see any difference worth commenting on. This makes me very happy, even though my wallet is about $160 lighter. :act006:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,620 Posts
Question for you OhSix: For those of us "reasonably happy" with our OEM audio system, will this antenna upgrade provide similar improvements in reception, or is there something about your HU/amp set up that makes this upgrade work?


Also for anyone wondering: My "fairly standard" garage (old style wood door with metal rod reinforcement below door when opened) has about 76" clearance at lowest point. This looks to be maybe 'just' adequate to clear the shorter (Hirschmann) mast shown above, given RL itself sits around 69-70" at the roof top (very rough measure of mine). My roof rack already adds about 4 1/4" .... so the 7" mast is a modes 2 3/4" addition to overall height. I don't garage the RL, but it would be good to know if I need to get her in once in a while to do some major work (like when I swapped out TB). I'll be fine offset from center (lowest point of my door's metal rod).

You'll have even more clearance with newer style (roll-track) garage doors. Check your own, but you should be fine getting in & out of your garage with this added 7" shorty mast (maybe). But probably not enough for the longer 15.5" mast???
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Question for you OhSix: For those of us "reasonably happy" with our OEM audio system, will this antenna upgrade provide similar improvements in reception, or is there something about your HU/amp set up that makes this upgrade work?


Also for anyone wondering: My "fairly standard" garage (old style wood door with metal rod reinforcement below door when opened) has about 76" clearance at lowest point. This looks to be maybe 'just' adequate to clear the shorter (Hirschmann) mast shown above, given RL itself sits around 69-70" at the roof top (very rough measure of mine). My roof rack already adds about 4 1/4" .... so the 7" mast is a modes 2 3/4" addition to overall height. I don't garage the RL, but it would be good to know if I need to get her in once in a while to do some major work (like when I swapped out TB). I'll be fine offset from center (lowest point of my door's metal rod).

You'll have even more clearance with newer style (roll-track) garage doors. Check your own, but you should be fine getting in & out of your garage with this added 7" shorty mast (maybe). But probably not enough for the longer 15.5" mast???
Oh heck yes Dnick. This antenna set up would be an improvement over factory by a wide margin. The stock head *should* seem like it just got a serious tune up. In terms of fidelity, you likely won't see much change but in terms of acquiring and keeping a signal more listenable in open road and difficult signal areas, it will do the job much better than the horizontal Honda flat bar thing. Can't say it'll make $150 worth of difference for you specifically - but for me it certainly did. Especially because I went from stock radio/ant to after market radio/stock antenna to after market/after market and came to see how each combo performed as a system.

I don't recall if the stock radio is "HD" capable or not, but this is where I really see a difference. As a local SD guy, you know Del Dios Hwy between Escondido and Ranch Sante Fe/Solana Beach? The area just west of Lake Hodges is literally "radio HELL" - with power lines running along side and crossing over the road. And mini-mountains on both sides. AM in that area would get sucked up by the power lines and FM multipath was a joke. Now, KOGO stays in digital most of the way and when signal falls below decode threshold, the transition to analog remains clean, almost completely immune from noise emanating from the power lines. KFI out Los Angeles is clean the entire route, which is amazing goven how far away the transmitter is. FM in that canyon is multipath heaven, but the short Hischmann mast doesn't see reflected waves like the flat bar did. Other than distant stations, FM is stable and mostly fade free.

I've never seen an adapter to go from DIN or Motorola terminations to Honda style but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Solve that issue and you'll probably be happy to add the Bosch/Hirschmann to your rig.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,620 Posts
Thanks.... I'm thinking this would help loads on the trip up 15 towards Temecula / Hemet. The 'gap' between good SanDiego reception & LA stations is significant as it stands now; and things get especially bad through the hills between Escondido & Temecula. XM works fine of course, but sometimes we like listening to AM/FM..... I might just have to jump in on this one.
 
21 - 31 of 31 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top